CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A woman convicted in a COVID-19 relief fraud scheme has been sentenced in federal court.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Tiffany Bowlin, 33, of Charleston, was sentenced on a wire fraud charge today, May 4, 2023, to five years of federal probation, including four months of home detention. She will also be required to pay $20,833 in restitution.
In February 2023, Bowlin pleaded guilty to defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program of $20,833 in COVID-19 relief loans. The loans were guaranteed through the Small Business Administration under the CARES Act.
Court documents say Bowlin applied for a PPP loan for her alleged business, which she stated was a hair salon that operated under the name “Tiffany Bowlin.” According to court documents, she claimed the business had been established in 2019. However, the DOJ says the salon was not a legitimate business and “had not engaged in substantial business activities on or before February 15, 2020.”
Records from court also show Bowlin submitted a false IRS 1040 form that claimed her alleged business had received a gross income of $106,600 in 2020. According to the DOJ, to apply for PPP loans, businesses were required to show they were in operation by Feb. 15, 2020, and had to show documentation of their prior gross income from either 2019 or 2020.
According to court records, in March 2022, Bowlin applied to have her PPP loan forgiven. The DOJ says the SBA forgave the loan even through she had not spent the funds from the loan on “permissible business expenses.”